Born to Be Blue

Born to Be Blue

DVD - 2016
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Jazz legend Chet Baker's tumultuous life is thrillingly re-imagined with wit, verve, and style to burn. In the 1950s, Baker was one of the most famous trumpeters in the world, renowned as both a pioneer of the West Coast jazz scene and an icon of cool.
Publisher: New York, NY :, IFC Films,, [2016]
Branch Call Number: DVD Born
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (97 min.) :,sound, color ;,4 3/4 in.
digital, optical, rda
video file, DVD video, rda


From Library Staff

With his turn as jazz legend Chet Baker, Ethan Hawke continues to quietly convince everyone that he is sneakily one of his generation's great actors.

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Mar 18, 2019

A movie about the decline of a life and a career. Not terribly inspiring. The movie attempts to portray Baker as a rival of Miles Davis. Not even close.

Apr 26, 2018

Ethan Hawke does a great job in this this film. But I just can't get into self abuse for my art scene story. This is someone's real life that drugs robbed him of an even better life, being a father, a husband, and a great musician. I guess we will never know how far he could have gone without them. The film is slow moving but that goes with the subject.

Apr 21, 2018

Had never heard of Chet Baker until I viewed this movie. A tormented soul. Did some fast forwards. He was fortunate to have a girl friend who stood by him for so long. Interesting vintage car.

May 13, 2017

Knew this one was going to be sad! Chet Baker noted West Coast jazz musician (he played the trumpet) ultimately succumbs to his drug addiction. Ethan Hawke does a good job as Baker, I dropped a star because I would have like a bit more of his music in the film. Always makes you wonder, why do some truly talented/gifted individuals give it all up for drugs? In the film, Baker says heroin made him happy, didn't his success, albums, fans, friends, family make him happy? I found the DVD a bit of a downer, but it provides some insight for self-reflection and raises questions: What is success? What is talent? What is happiness? What is the cost of it all? What price would you pay?

d2013 Apr 05, 2017

Well worth the time, very good movie and great performance by Ethan Hawke.

Apr 02, 2017

Jazz music is best when its spontaneous, improvised, and from the heart. Perhaps it’s fitting then that writer/director Robert Budreau’s free-flowing look at the life of legendary trumpeter and lifelong heroin addict Chet Baker—credited with inventing the sound of “west coast swing—relies more on feeling than actual biographical facts. Opening with Chet’s first introduction to smack when he was a gap-toothed kid playing alongside Dizzie Gillespie and Miles Davis in the early 50s (a clever film-within-a-film as an older, wizened Chet is hired to play himself in an ill-fated biopic) and ending with his much lauded comeback attempt in 1966, Budreau takes a non-linear approach to the musician’s life with stagey B&W flashbacks offset by colour sequences detailing a rocky personal life marked by failed romance, violence (a vicious assault just about ended his already faltering career), and an overwhelming addiction to a drug which was both a crutch and a creative muse. Ethan Hawke should have received an Oscar nomination for his role as the passionate yet muddled Baker, and Carmen Ejogo excels as his frustrated lover, a struggling actress who comes to represent all the women in Baker’s life. Downcast and moody, much like Chet’s peculiar brand of music-making, with an eye for sunsets and an ear for sad jazz, this is not destined to be a crowd pleaser. But for those who appreciate a fine ensemble drama shot through with flashes of bleak poetry it’s certainly worth a look.

Feb 19, 2017

Very cool, very sad bio-drama about Baker and his attempt at entering a world his demons wouldn't allow him to conquer, regardless of his talent.

Feb 11, 2017

I knew Baker played the trumpet and that he sang Funny Valentine, which echoes from my youth - but knew nothing of his life, which he sadly gave over to heroin even as his music flourished.
this is the kind of life-story movie I was expecting to see in Miles Ahead but that movie about Miles Davis veered away from his music into violence, which I chose not to watch.

I can understand an ardent jazz fan wanting more from this film - including Baker's playing - but I learned a bit about his life and will listen to more of his music.

Aug 16, 2016

Moving! Initially I thought Ethan Hawke wasn't the right actor to play Chet but as the movie evolves, Ethan's brand of pathos came out naturally that somehow he has actually taken the persona of the trumpeteer. Plus the songs are just amazing. I've always loved vocal jazz and the interplay of vocals and instruments as Chet usually did was a perfect combination. Jazz critics including his father were less favorable in giving him the proper respect and accolade in his recordings specially his vocal records but as what Ethan mentioned in that bonus footage, his records until now sell. He should at least get a nomination for this. I'd say this is still his best performance. On the movie itself, this is a lot better than Miles Ahead, another jazz film on who else!


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